« Interview: Those Mockingbirds | Main | Review: VNV Nation, Whiteqube @ Bowery Ballroom 5.11.14 »
Tuesday
Jun032014

Album Reviews: Those Mockingbirds, 7 Seconds, Cursed Words, Coy Kids

Those Mockingbirds Penny The Dreadful

Those Mockingbirds

Penny The Dreadful
self-released 

Indie rock band Those Mockingbirds may very well be the next rising band from New Jersey to perform on The Tonight Show. Their determination and charisma isn't something to be overlooked.

The band, which is lead by vocalist/guitarist Adam Bird and violinist/keyboardist Tory Anne Daines, got their start just like every other band: playing shows all over the northeast and spending their free time promoting the band at places like the mall and random parking lots. Five years might be a long time to release a debut album, but Those Mockingbirds have been patiently biding their time for the right moment. Aside from releasing three EPs, 2010's No Symmetry and 2011's BETA: Alpha and Fa Sol La, the band have been gaining momentum via press from major publications like Fox News and CBS-FM and performances at festivals like CMJ and Northside Festival.

Recorded by Dean Baltulonis (Brand New, Lucero) at the Wild Arctic in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Penny The Dreadful features ten tracks that easily veer from soft, lush coffee shop atmospheres to grandiose stadium-like altitudes. Opener "A Ballad From Hell" slowly slithers out of the gate with twangy guitars and Adam playing the role of a sidewalk preacher, proclaiming "Maybe we're both going to hell" to those within earshot. Penny The Dreadful is a lot more grittier than their previous releases. Tracks like "Teenage Fantasies" and "Destroy My Love" have a grander emphasis on the grit notion but still manage to maintain inviting melodies.

The aformentioned "Destroy My Love" and "S.A.L.T." find Tory Daines delivering sonorous and sultry harmonies on her violin while "Model Myself" has Adam declaring "I won't model myself after you" backed by melodic guitars from Jonathan Gianino. With a guest spot from Daniel DeJesus of the New York band Rasputina, the acoustic track "I Feel Like I Died" closes the album in a delicate fashion. No need for electric guitars or pounding drums on this one. The sheer bare-bones intimacy of this track makes it one of the album's highlights.

With Penny The Dreadful, Those Mockingbirds have unveiled something that celebrates the band's journey so far, and if the last few years are any indication of how far they can go, they can certainly expect bigger and better things in the near future. Their debut album drops on July 1st. 

 

7 Seconds
Leave A Light On
Rise Records  

"Thirty years and we're still going wrong," cries 7 Seconds frontman Kevin Seconds during "30 Years (And Still Going Wrong)" from their new album Leave A Light On. Most punk bands from their time have either slowed down or somehow managed to alienate themselves and their fans. Luckily for 7 Seconds, these kind of incidents have never come knocking on their door.

For their first album since 2005's Take It Back, Take It On, Take It Over!, the Reno, Nevada hardcore punk band teamed up with Rise Records. The album is everything that you love about 7 Seconds, and you'll get that sense of wanting to engage in a circlepit in your boss' office within the first few seconds of the opening track "Exceptional". Lyrically, the album touches on relatable topics such as bettering oneself ("Upgrade Everything"), storming away from the situation at hand ("Rage Quit"), and spreading a positive message ("Slogan On A Shirt"). While the pit starters are sure to please longtime fans, there are obviously a couple of melodic moments sprinkled in between. "Standing By Yourself" and the title track offer a more calmer side of the band. Those looking to get into the band can easily use this record as a great starting point.

While there may be some old school bands trying to adapt to the current trends and a certain legendary California punk act confusingly divided into two camps, thank your lucky stars that 7 Seconds have managed to stick to their guns for over three decades.

 

Cursed Words
CRSD WRDS EP
self released

If you've haven't heard of Cursed Words, now would probably be a good time to start. The New Jersey three piece band features members of local bands Waking Lights (drummer Dana LaMarca), Blue Gold (guitarist Mike Baron) and Moby's blues/rock band The Little Death (bassist/vocalist Kyle McCammon). The band worked on their debut EP CRSD WRDS at The Den Recording in Woodland Park. Well, is it worth the listen?

In one word: yes. The four song EP is a strong debut from the up and coming band. There is some room for improvement but not enough where it weakens the overall effect of this EP. The opening track "Crimson" might seem simplistic with Kyle crooning "I don't know why" over lush pianos in the chorus, but sometimes, simplicity works best. The band seems to know how to write good pop/rock songs that still have a sense of rawness. "Promise Back", the final track from the EP, displays some broad songwriting abilities. Cursed Words have something going for them. Let's just hope they can build upon it.

 

Coy Kids
Youthful Days
Texiera Records

The press release in regards to New Jersey indie-punk trio Coy Kids' latest album Youthful Days certainly raised some eyebrows and caused some guffaws amongst music writers. Packed with random fun facts and their burning desire to have their music called tweecore, the band got straight to the point at the end when they stated, "We’re 3 dudes who write songs about gals. We drink cheap beer. Sometimes we drink fancy beer. We’ll fight anyone who talks shit about New Jersey."

Youthful Days is a beer drenched, bong flavored album about the pains and joys of the opposite sex. Whether they're discussing random tomfoolery ("Yeah Yeah Yeah") or the art of impressing someone ("You're An Impressive Bitch"), the band captures the true essence of being young and in love in the Garden State. Think Man Overboard crossed with The Front Bottoms but a lot more pissed off and influenced by bands like Superchunk and Pavement.

Oh, and did I mention they're from New Jersey? If you haven't glanced at their social media pages, they'll certainly remind the listener of their roots with "Girls From New Jersey", a track that features a band of girls gleefully singing the lines "Seaside/ Jersey City/ Fucking tough and we're pretty" and "Shitty Movies In Jersey City", a number which finds vocalist Shen Pan crooning, "I'm sorry Jersey City sucks/ And now we're sitting in my living room with nowhere to go". Overall, Youthful Days is the kind of album that would be the perfect soundtrack for a simple walk alone (preferably in Jersey City) or a small rager with friends (again, preferably in Jersey City). (Terrance Pryor)